Aikido In Daily Life: November 2020

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.Fear is a fascinating aspect of being human.

We all experience fear from one time to the next, we are all mentally and emotionally wired to react to fear quickly using several deeply ingrained strategies (fight, flight, or freeze), and we are all predisposed to accept fear as ‘real.’ However, fear is not tangible, it is not quantifiable, it is mostly a thought. Fear is also deeply connected to our egos, designed to protect us from discomfort and suffering. Training in Aikido helps us relate to fear in healthier and more productive ways. Our training also helps us better know our egos and gives us the skills to continually file our egos back down. 


When we experience fear, it is an emotional experience. It is also an opportunity to make some choices about how we want to present in that situation. Through our Aikido training, we learn to more quickly find our centers, relax, and extend our energy into the situation. The alternative is to this approach is to think about it and consider what could happen and begin to take measures to protect ourselves from the threat by holding our breaths, tensing our bodies, and contracting our energy toward ourselves. Although seductive, this approach closes us to the experience, lowers our responsiveness, and limits our creativity.

Through the thousands of punches and grabs directed at our bodies, through the thousands of falls and rolls that we take to avoid injury at the last second of an attack, and through the practice of following the energy of a threat, we become more capable of accepting fear and working with it more effectively. These are physical threats that we practice with in the dojo and as our practice is to unify our mind, body, and sprit, we should also take time to reflect on how the Aikido response to fear can be applied to threats that aren’t physical. Because regardless of the source of fear much of the response needs to address our fundamental human conditioning to ‘protect ourselves’ rather than blend with the energy of the experience. 

By Nate Weed

Aikido in Daily Life: September 2018

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

The harder things are often the right things to do. Perhaps this is giving an apology, giving a co-worker uncomfortable feedback, or getting up early so that we have enough time to get ready for work without racing around. There are many examples of situations where we’re faced with a difficult option and an easy option. So, how does our practice help us choose the harder thing/ the right thing?

The practice of Aikido in daily life is generally about applying the fundamentals of relaxing completely, focusing on our center, and extending ki as much of the time as we’re able to. If we diligently practice doing this, it becomes easier and we spend more of our time living in this capable state. Additionally, we develop our ability to maintain relaxed, centered, awareness when circumstances become challenging.  Through that, a couple of things tend to happen – first, in being relaxed and centered we generally do a better job of making the right decision, and, second, by being centered and extending ki we are more easily able to enter into the harder choices.  As a bonus to our practice, we learn to approach challenges and obstacles with an open heart – both considering the well-being of others and having compassion for ourselves. This provides a unique advantage in our personal resilience as we choose harder things and learn from them.

 

By Nate Weed

Aikido in Daily Life: February 2018

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

Fear of falling, fear of getting hurt, fear of dying, fear of failing?

In our lives we all face fears. In some cases these fears create resistance for us t truly find our potential and experience life at it’s fullest. Understandably, fear (or perhaps the desire to confront fear) is what draws many people to the martial arts. And, chipping away at our fears is certainly an implicit outcome of practicing a “Do” or martial way.

Most of us come to adult life having developed a set of fears (some are probably rational and some not so much) and an ego that finds ways to use our fears to keep us safe but also hold us back. Additionally, our fears are often layered like an onion. We have a fear of falling perhaps. Within that fear there might be other fears like the fear of getting hurt, the fear of dying, or maybe the fear of failing or of being embarrassed. Finally, these fears can be hidden with self delusion and justification where they become subtle mental friction that make us pause, lose our centers, present our openings, and lose opportunities when otherwise we might have achieved something great.

Practicing Aikido, is designed to help us first, become better aware of our fears, then to help us process these fears as we work to overcome those fears, and finally to live our lives with a “warrior spirit“. At Aikido Olympia, we all work together to support each other as we travel this path. And to truly support each other, our practice must be sincere in order to unravel the layers of fear and ego that keep us from our full potential and keep us from living fully.

By Nate Weed